Book Review: The Hunger by Alma Katsu

The Hunger - Alma Katsu

An enticing cover, an intriguing blurb, and an endorsement by Stephen King, The Hunger became a must read!


What began as a brave and bold adventure has become a nightmare.

The searing heat of the desert gives way to biting winds as they get closer to the mountains. The snows freeze the cattle where they stand.

The spectre of starvation looms and the children have begun to disappear.

Rumours are whispered, fingers pointed and accusation made as the survivors turn against each other.

And winter is closing in . . .


Having finished this book last month, I’ve spent several days pondering what to write in this review. I enjoyed this novel but have been struggling how to convey why. I was firstly, drawn to The Hunger due to its cover, it showcased two things I love in books – firstly, plots based on true stories, and secondly, the wintry landscape. So, let’s look at those two elements in more detail.

Based on the true story of the Donner party’s journey across America, in search of a better future, facing the harshness of the weather, but also how people can turn on each other when times get hard. I’d not heard of the Donner party’s journey before so everything in this plot was new to me, and what a journey it was! The landscape, the unforgiving winter, alongside the supernatural element, created this eerie, unsettling atmosphere that never quite goes away. When you are being hunted, isolation is never the answer, especially when you are not sure who or what is doing the hunting.

There were some great characters in this novel, some dominant personalities that really helped carry the story along. Everyone has their own reasons for joining this trek, and some characters you learn about in more detail, and this really helps strengthen their presence and influence in the plot. As supplies start running low, and people become less forgiving, the tension mounts and you begin to fear for everyone’s survival.

I loved the vivid images created in this novel, the description of the terrain, particularly the blistering cold; that’s enough to kill a man, let alone the danger of being hunted too. As the plot moves along, the conditions worsen, the cracks in the group start to form, and the hunger kicks in.

The Hunger is an intense, and well written, blend of historical fiction and horror, with a nice supernatural edge. The plot starts off slow, but the foreboding is ever present. I can’t think of any book to compare this one to, it totally stands on its own merit – the best I can do is compare it to the The Grey, starring Liam Neeson, in terms of the desperation, isolation and harsh weather. I cannot wait to watch The Hunger played out on the big screen. I absolutely recommend this novel!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK / Book Depository

*My thanks to the publisher (Random House UK/Bantam Press) for granting me access to a digital copy of this title via Netgalley*

19 thoughts on “Book Review: The Hunger by Alma Katsu

  1. This one sounds fantastic!! We actually stopped along Donner Pass on our honeymoon to check out the views…didn’t realize that was where we were and then spent the next few hours googling everything Donner party!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s